Dealer specials - what’s the big deal?
The world of dealer specials can become complex. The reason being was that back in the late 90’s the manufacturers offered their dealers a standard range caravan that could be fitted with extras and also given it its own name. Manufacturers could get a firm commitment from the dealer for orders and set production accordingly. This now means that virtually every dealership has - at some time - a used dealer special on the forecourt.
These models usually came with better quality upholstery, extras such as microwave, alarm, heavy duty corner steadies, extra lockers, sockets and BBQ points over or above the standard model range. They cost more, but not as much as these bits being added to a standard model range. Hence the dealer special for instance of a Swift Charisma will cost up to a £1000 more than the standard model. They can be well worth hunting out too because of the extra kit. Ask the seller who had them built and for how long etc. To first time buyers, dealer specials can be a confusing area so do find out what extra kit they came with.
My friend bought his caravan off an auction site and saved hundreds of pounds
If you’re not in a position where you have a very experienced person to help you, then we say head to the nearest dealership. You see the dealer has certain obligations - making sure that the caravan is serviced, and safe to use, plus the correct model year and that it has not been stolen. Also any faults must be presented to the seller and agreement made in the price for these to be put right.
Buying private can be a way of saving cash initially, but can be also the road to spending hundreds later on! It’s amazing how many caravans are still sold with the wrong year on them. On later models this is less of as a problem, but you do need the correct details for insuring your caravan so it needs to be right. A good dealership will go through the caravan’s features and also make sure that when you collect it you can be brought up top speed with the equipment fitted. If private, then check for the seller’s ownership, receipts etc. Also make sure the caravan is damp free as once you have bought it, it’s down to you unless the seller feels a hint of guilt and stumps up the repair bill.
Dealers can sometimes get bad press but generally it’s a case of getting to know your local dealership because in the end they want you back and also the accessory shop relies on your custom too. It’s in the dealer’s interests. Ask the dealer for any extras he may fit as part of the deal too, or extended warranties he can offer, or a discount on an awning for instance.